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Industrial Promotion Services (IPS)

AKFED works with governments, international corporations, international financial institutions and donors to create solutions to pressing infrastructure needs, including power generation and telecommunications. AKFED has invested in, and manages, over 50 industrial project companies in Africa and Asia.

In the early 1960s, a group of companies was set up under the corporate name Industrial Promotion Services (IPS). Each company was created to provide venture capital, technical assistance and management support to encourage and expand private enterprise in countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Growth, privatisation and a re-orientation away from import substitution and towards export promotion resulted in adjustments to IPS’ approach. Expansion into areas such as agribusiness, packaging and infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa were accompanied by the need for new investments in the emerging economies of Central Asia in the 1990s and 2000s, in particular, in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Today, IPS companies play a vital role in local and regional economies.

Frigoken Limited: How Small Bean Farmers in Kenya Now Export to Europe.Frigoken Limited: How Small Bean Farmers in Kenya Now Export to Europe. Download Case Study in PDF format.

Food and Agro-Processing
One of IPS’ core operational sectors, agro-processing, includes companies that supply goods for both local and export markets. They also play a significant role in supporting the rural economy. In Kenya, for example, Frigoken provides agricultural extension services to 45,000 Kenyan bean farmers. The beans are processed and exported to European markets. Loans are provided to the farmers by the non-profit Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance to assist them with financial needs that arise prior to receiving harvest revenues.

In West Africa, AKFED supplies agricultural extension services to more than 60,000 cotton farmers, operates cotton ginneries and exports finished products. Its social programmes offer microfinance, education, health and sanitation to the farmers.

In addition to promoting the employment of women, these companies have become national role models in matters of employee welfare, including the provision of child care and health care.

Infrastructure
AKFED works with governments, international corporations, international financial institutions and donors to create solutions to pressing infrastructure needs, including power generation, telecommunications and water supply services. AKFED’s first investment in the power sector, the US$225 million Azito Energy project in the Ivory Coast, was the largest private sector power plant in sub-Saharan Africa. It currently provides 40 percent of the electricity generation needs for the country. It was followed by the Tsavo Power plant in Mombasa, Kenya’s first privately financed “open-bid” project and the first such plant successfully constructed under an updated and more stringent environmental law.

AKFED also worked with partners to rehabilitate and expand a Soviet-era hydroelectric power plant that is boosting the eastern province of Tajikistan’s inadequate electricity supply, reducing deforestation and contributing to the region’s economic recovery. In Uganda, AKFED is leading the US$860-million, 220-megawatt Bujagali Hydro Power Project, to produce critically needed electricity for the country, and for neighbouring Kenya.

AKFED’s initial involvement in building telecommunications infrastructure was in Indigo, a GSM mobile phone operation in Tajikistan. In Afghanistan, AKFED determined that building communication infrastructure was critically important to the redevelopment of the country and was awarded the country’s second GSM mobile phone license. The company that was formed, Roshan, has invested over US$450 million in expanding its coverage. Roshan directly employs over 1,100 people; indirectly, over 30,000 people are employed through distributors, contractors and suppliers.

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